The Sticker Book (a short story)

The purpose of a sticker book, when One was in primary school, was to be a product of praise. “You did good, kid,” being the standard kind of sticker that tired educators would hastily place atop of the large and childish scrap book with the hope it wouldn’t fall off. This scrap book, even with the sticker of approval, would amount to nothing in the grand scheme of things. You can’t exactly put a 1st grade scrap book in a resume.

A sticker book can prove to be a valid distraction.

Twenty years on, One found themself staring at the upright display of sticker books with an idle nostalgia as Two searched the store high and low for the necessary valuable items.

“I should pick up a sticker book,” One said to themself, glancing over the shoulder to catch a glimpse of Two tossing a packet they failed to identify over their shoulder.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Two grumbled. “We’ll have enough to carry–we won’t have the space.”

It was a bitter disappointment One felt at Two’s response, so they ignored them and stuffed the sticker book containing innocent childhood feelings of accomplishment into their back pocket. They were hesitant to turn away, spying the space-themed stickers.

“. . . There’s a space book . . . Can I tempt you?”

“For the last time, no! No sticker books! It’s not important!” Two shouted, startling the shocked man seated next to them.

One chalked their uber maturity up to their jaded sense of adulthood. There was nothing wrong with stickers, they mused quietly.

“One!” Two exclaimed.

Evidently, One had been musing for too long.

“I’m waiting on you to clear the cash from the till!”

One tugged down on their mask, making sure it was secure. They passed the shocked man that was making muffled sounds, his mouth too well covered in duct tape for any of them to be easily comprehensible.

“At what point was looking for stickers more important than your pay?”

One sighed, taking the bag that Two dropped at their feet. Leaving the poor man tied in his seated position on the floor, obscured from outdoor view, the pair of department store thieves strode through the automatic doors. Little did Two know that his of did indeed find space for the sticker book.

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